Is Infectious Mononucleosis (Mono) Contagious in Children?

Is Infectious Mononucleosis (Mono) Contagious in Children?

Infectious mononucleosis publicly known as “kissing disease” is a contagious infection which is generally caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in more than 90 % of the cases. However, other viruses like adenovirus, toxoplasma, rubella and hepatitis viruses may also cause the infectious mononucleosis.  According to the statistics most of the adults have been exposed to the disease before their 35’s and approximately 95 % of the whole population have been infected by mono viruses during their life time. If people once have been exposed to infectious mononucleosis, they develop immunity to the disease and will not get it again.

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How Does The Virus Spread?

The virus is spread in various ways where the main actor is saliva. Although it is widely spread general among the teens and adolescence, very small children may also catch infectious mononucleosis viruses. Not only kissing, sneezing and coughing of infected persons, but also sharing their infected eating and drinking utensils are among reasons for the spread of the disease. Small children and toddlers may also be exposed to virus while playing with infected toys if they put them into their mouths. In the places like kindergartens, pre-schools and high schools the virus may be spread rapidly. Nevertheless, spread of the virus can be prevented by following hygienic rules. Therefore in the developed countries where the hygienic rules are strictly practiced in public areas, kindergartens and pre-schools, toddlers and small children don’t get this infection in their early years.

Although infectious mononucleosis is contagious among children, sometimes they can’t be diagnosed as mono patient. Because symptoms in toddlers and very small children who are exposed to mono viruses, may be either non-existent or too mild to be diagnosed. 

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Can Infectious Mononucleosis Be Prevented

There is not any vaccine to prevent infectious mononucleosis. Good hygiene is the best way to get protection from the disease. Possible prevention methods are as follows:  To make children to wash their hands properly and frequently; to teach them not to use eating and drinking utensils collectively and not to share foods and drinks with no one (sometimes mono infected people do not show symptoms of infectious mononucleosis); to prevent them to be in close contact with patients with the virus.

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What Are General Symptoms Of The Infectious Mononucleosis?

Symptoms of the Infectious Mononucleosis differ from person to person depending on her / his immune systems. Some of patients do not show symptoms while some patients show severe symptoms. The symptoms of the IM are fatigue and malaise, loss of appetite, lack of energy, fever, sore throat, tonsillitis and sometime swollen glands.  Certain diagnosis can be proven with a blood test.

How Is The Treatment For The Disease?

Since the reasons for the infectious mononucleosis are viruses, antibiotics do not work and therefore are not prescribed for the treatment. The best way of treatment is to take bed rest especially when the symptoms are severe, to nourish well and to take liquids. In order relieve pains and reduce fever, drugs with acetaminophen may be helpful.